Groveling is a powerful thing. When it’s done right, it can demonstrate that a hero or heroine has truly changed, that they understand the flaws of their past behavior and are ready to be not so much of an asshat. Sometimes, depending on the plot, the happy ending rests on the strength of the groveling scene.
Groveling in a romance is something we’ve talked about before – particularly in the big behemoth thread from a few years ago on rape in romance. There’s some powerful juju in hearing someone say, “I was wrong. I was so, so wrong.” Whether it’s mistaken identity or stupidly large misunderstandings, or misunderstanding the heroine when she said she wasn’t a prostitute (“I thought you said, ‘I look hot in a suit!’”), the groveling and asking for forgiveness can do a lot in the hands of a skilled writer to strengthen a character, and establish the possibility for a true happy ending.
Insufficient groveling can be problematic – this was the basis of my problem with Anna Campbell’s Claiming the Courtesan when I read it. And sometimes the groveling is absent altogether. I received this email from a reader recently:
I just read a craptastic book by Diana Palmer involving an alpha male that
I found, okay, okay, bought >: ( and am so angry!
So the hero (psshhh) is a cowboy/millionaire who is the object of a girl’s
crush and basically treats the girl like crap through the whole book and I
keep reading and reading and finish the book and felt completely ripped off!
I was contemplating why I hated it so much and I realize that there was no
grovel scene! The only way I allow the hero to act like an ass is because I
am waiting for the wonderful great part where he makes it up to me, um . . .
I mean her, by the fantastic grovel/apology/gesture/change he willing to
make because of luurve. I know that I’m not the only reader who loves this
cathartic part of the book and would love a suggestion of some books that
have great groveling. I need to heal and take this awful taste of
shenanegans out of my mouth!
It occurred to me that we’ve never done a list of books that really satisfy those readers who enjoy the gesture or groveling of a formerly-asshatted hero. What books rocked your socks in terms of the grovel – and which books didn’t have nearly enough?